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 Posted: Sat Aug 30th, 2008 06:36 pm
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Wrap10
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Location: Oklahoma USA
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Ed,

If I may, if you are referring to 5fish's reference to there being no Hornet's Nest until after the battle - from what I've read, there has never been any reference found to that term that dates from the war. I think the first known reference dates to the 1870's or 1880's. It may well have been contemporary, especially with southerners who fought there, but the term does not seem to have gained any sort of wide term exposure until quite some time after the war ended.

I don't mean to speak for someone else, but that's the way 5fish's statement read to me.

The same situation appears to be true for the name Sunken Road, which really isn't 'sunken' at all. On one of the anniversary hikes this past April, Jeff Gentsch, a historian who specializes in geography, said that he thinks the "Sunken Road" term may have been conjured up by Union veterans who fought there in response to the attention focused on Antietam's Sunken Road. His theory is that the large ravine immediately behind the 'sunken road' at Shiloh may have been the catalyst for the term.

I don't know if he's right about that or not, but comparing the two positions, at Shiloh and Antietam, that ravine is the only thing that really compares with the location at Antietam. There is nothing "sunken" about the road itself at Shiloh.

I imagine that a fair bit of what we now consider the well accepted versions of history where the war is concerned were not quite so at the time. For instance, I understand that there are no known photographs of the field of Pickett's Charge until sometime in the 1880's. There are numerous photos taken very shortly after the battle, but apparently none from that area. Odd, considering how famous it now is. But perhaps it wasn't always so.

I think I've also read that the charge may not have been considered the high-point of the battle, or at least of the war, until John Bachelder came along and began what you might term his re-shaping efforts.

It's interesting and sometimes even eye-opening to learn about how our history has been passed down to us, and how some of the story has undergone changes over the years.

Perry

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